Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/336

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greeted with the following civil address: "Daar komt weder die verdoomde Engelsman;" that is, "There comes again the cursed Englishman." Though I had heard much of the aversion these men entertain for all that is British, and their coarse language in general, I certainly had not expected that they would have carried their animosity so far. Walking straight up to the individual that had thus accosted me, I said, in as good Dutch as I could muster, "My good friend, in my country, when a stranger does us the honor to pay us a visit, before even asking his errand or his name, much less abusing him, we invite him to our table; and, when he has quenched his thirst and satisfied his hunger, we may probably inquire whence he comes or where he goes;" and with this I leaped into the saddle. The fellow clearly felt the rebuke, for, on turning my horse's head away, he endeavored to persuade me to stop; but his rude salutation had quite spoiled my appetite.

As a rule, however, though frequently coarse and abrupt in their language and conversation, they are undeniably hospitable; and when a person can converse with them in their own language, and accommodate himself to their manners and peculiarities, they are excellent fellows, as I have often experienced. To several of their customs, nevertheless, the stranger will find some difficulty in reconciling himself.

In these localities, on meeting a wayfaring man, the Dutch Boer invariably thus accosts him: "Good-day! Where do you come from? Where are you going? Are you married? How many children have you?" and so forth. If you should be so unfortunate as not to have entered into the marriage state, he is astonished beyond measure, and looks upon you with something like contempt.

Like most people who are novices in a foreign language, I committed at first sad mistakes, and many a joke and laugh originated at my expense. Once, indeed, my awkwardness cost me the loss of a supper, of which I stood greatly in need,